Tuesday, July 01, 2014

a sincere confession

i have a confession to make.

while there are very few of you that can really understand what it is requiring of me to write the following words on a public forum, the rest of you will just have to take my word for it:  this is a big deal for me.

i used to hate broccoli.  now i love it.

but that's not my confession.

i used to think that the world was black and white.  now i live in and love the gray areas.

but that's not my confession either.

i used to blast hanson's "mmm bop" as loud as i could and dance around like a crazy fool.

still not my confession.

my confession is this:  i have been watching the fifa 2014 world cup.

and enjoying it.  


look, i am a football and baseball guy.  my most formative sports years were spent falling head-over-heels in love with baseball, and i spent every waking moment throwing and catching any ball i could figure out a way to throw and catch.  and i was pretty darn good, if i do say so myself, at throwing and catching.

so when i was first presented with a sport that almost exclusively banned the use of the hand for throwing or catching, and this was sometime in middle school, i think, i reacted negatively.  plus, i was already committed to baseball and football.  and i didn't understand this offensively-challenged game in which off-sides meant something that seemed to make no sense, at least to a fan of american football.  i had several good reasons for not really liking soccer, but somehow, in a way that only makes sense when you know how dramatic and ridiculous i am, my dislike turned into vehement hate.  i loathed the game of soccer.  i said i would never watch it.  my children would never play it.  and if i ever had to eat my words in either of those two previous statements, i certainly wouldn't enjoy it.

get in my belly, words.

because it's all true.  my children play soccer.  and i have come to enjoy it.  and these last couple of weeks, i have slowly started peeking at the television during these world cup matches, until it finally came to fruition on sunday, and i watched the entire netherlands/mexico match, and then followed up that sweat-inducing, nerve-wracking experience by watching greece lose to costa rica, in an even more extraordinary fashion.  and i loved it.  i couldn't take my eyes off it.

it's still all true: in theory, i resent a sport that barely lets you use the hands God gave you.  i still don't understand all the rules, and it still amazes me that we watch up to 120 minutes of people running around punctuated by one or two brief moments of euphoria.  all of that remains.  but what has changed is that i enjoyed it.   i wanted to watch more.  and not just of the united states team...i mean, of course i will be pulling for them to defeat belgium today.  and i may or may not paint my face to support them.  or even my belly.  i haven't decided.

but that's not what i needed to confess.  it was, remarkably, and quite simply, this:

i like soccer.

there, i said it.

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